New Study shows that E-Learning is about the Same as Before
A San Diego State University education technology professor , Allison Rossett, and her colleague, faculty member James Marshall, recently released the results of a mid-2009 survey that they conducted about the state of e-learning. They pair published the results in the January 2010 electronic magazine published by the American Society for Training and Development. The article concludes that e-learning isn’t likely to die off and that it hasn’t changed dramatically over recent years.
Here’s how the survey worked:
The pair surveyed practitioners in various areas including academia, government agencies, and the corporate world. Nearly 1,000 responses came in, revealing the respondents thoughts about e-learning today. The survey looked at current practices, potential barriers to implementing e-learning, testing of knowledge and skills, and future aspirations.
Here’s what the survey revealed about e-learning:
- Tutorials, scenarios, and other familiar instructional strategies continue to be popular
- The Web’s role in e-learning has not yet fully materialized
- Testing of knowledge and skills tops the list of the most common e-learning practices
- E-coaching, online discussions, Web 2.0, and mobile computing are the least commonly used practices
- Academia uses Web 2.0 activities far more than any other area surveyed (the authors speculated that perhaps this was because academic subjects have more room for discussion or that professors have greater freedoms to experiment)
- Money tops the list of constraints to implementing e-learning with other constraints including resistance to change, a preference for classroom training, and technology’s shortcomings
- Employees’ resistance to technology, technical abilities, and learning abilities were expected to be constraints, but the survey revealed that they were not. The same is true of lawyers and incentives favoring the classroom
- E-learning in the future drew a mixed response with answers split amongst: personalized learning, measurement for program improvement, performance support, employee-generated content, authentic and immersive experiences, online networks and collaboration, problem solving and knowledge construction, assessments pointing people to relevant programs, mobile learning and support, and scenario-based e-learning
Rossett and Marshall have converted the original survey to an online form where business professionals can evaluate their own thoughts on e-learning. Slightly modified from its original form, the survey presents participants with a series of 26 snapshots describing typical e-learning practices and offering a selection of predefined choices. Two choices are offered for each snapshot with the first rating current practices and the second rating the snapshot’s importance such as essential, nice but not necessary, or not essential. The online survey also lists 25 potential e-learning barriers with pre-defined choices of: major constraint, minor constraint, and not a constraint.
The study concludes with the realization that e-learning today favors familiar practices such as assessments, scenarios, tutorials, personalization, and testing and that much-talked-about practices such as virtual classrooms, user generated content, collaborative learning, and blended learning have not yet gained widespread adoption.
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